After you’ve had one or more teeth removed, you have the option to replace them with dental implants. The purpose of an implant is to restore function as well as to make you look and feel better. They are the closest thing you can get to natural, healthy teeth. You’ll regain your old smile and be able to eat all your favorite foods again.
To learn more about the available implant options, contact Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX, at (512) 327-7233.
The Three Main Choices for Implants
The main options for tooth replacement are dentures, dental bridges, and implants. While dentures are the most affordable option, they also require the most maintenance in that they must be removed and cleaned each day. The use of dental bridges had been a more popular option prior to the recent popularity of implants. Bridgework depends on existing natural teeth for support while implants are supported by just the bone and do not affect surrounding natural teeth.
The decision often comes down to cost, patient preference, the location of the missing tooth or teeth, and the health of the jawbone where the implant will go. Consultation with your doctor will help you make this important decision.
Dental implants have become the most popular choice for replacing missing teeth for a number of reasons. An implant consists of three parts: the implant itself, which is a titanium screw, an abutment, and the crown. The implant is fused to the jawbone, and the abutment is added to supports the crown. In this way, an implant stands on its own and does not affect the nearby teeth.
Because each patient’s situation is different, the stages of the procedure can vary, and the time for full restoration can range between three and six months.
The procedure is usually done in two stages. The first stage involves removing a damaged or decayed tooth and may also include a bone graft to strengthen the jawbone. Ideally, an implant is put in place on the same day as the extraction, but this is not always the case. Some patients might require more extensive surgery and will return to have the implant placed on another day. When the area is ready for the implant, the titanium post is placed into the bone with a special drill. A temporary cap is placed over the implant, the gum is stitched and the healing process begins. Once the implant has properly fused, an abutment is added to hold the replacement tooth prosthesis, also known as a crown.
Dental Implant FAQs:
What are the advantages of dental implants?
Because implants are made of titanium, they will never decay and will last a lifetime. They will improve your appearance and the confidence to eat the foods you like.
Are there disadvantages?
As with any oral procedures, there is the risk of infection, and there will be inflammation. Your doctor will discuss all factors before the procedure.
What is the recovery time?
If you have a single standard implant with no bone grafting, you will need the least amount of recovery time. You will experience mild bruising and soreness that can be managed by prescription pain medication, which you should take before the local anesthetic wears off. If you have multiple teeth replaced or need extensive bone grafting, the recovery time will be longer, with more discomfort.
What is All-on-4?
It’s a procedure that involves the replacement of all the missing teeth in one jaw by using only four implants. It is beneficial for patients who have lost significant bone in the back of their mouth.
What are the anesthesia options?
These will be discussed during your consultation. They include local anesthesia, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or intravenous sedation.
What is the cost?
It can vary depending on your situation and needs. Generally, replacing one tooth with an implant is about the same as replacing it with a fixed bridge. If various grafting procedures are needed, that could increase the cost. You should check with your insurance company to see what portion of the costs may be covered.
Can someone be too old for an implant?
No, but you do need to have healthy gums with adequate bone to support the implant. It also helps to be in good overall health.
What is the success rate?
Usually between 90 and 95 percent for patients in good health who practice good oral hygiene.
Contact Hill Country Oral Surgery today to schedule a consultation to determine your best implant choices after tooth removal. Patients will be able to view before and after photos of procedures they are considering.